I started a book study group in Meetup.com in approximately October 2010. So far, I have only had 3 book studies, and I had to cancel one because I was sick. The book study for March 2011 focuses on gratitude, and we are reading and discussing Living Life as a Thank You: The Transformative Power of Daily Gratitude by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons. If you haven’t read this delightful book, then I would recommend that you do so.
The book is 250 pages, and is very easy to read and understand. There are ten chapters, and each chapter has incredible stories that the authors compiled of people using gratitude to make their lives better, and change their perceptions about circumstances, which at first may seem negative or horrible, become positive blessings. The authors point out that many studies have been conducted and show that gratitude is an essential key for personal happiness. People who look at past events and see the positive in them and are grateful tend to be more satisfied in the present moment. As the authors suggest, “Gratitude promotes healing, harmony, peace, and joy. It encourages forgiveness, patience, and goodwill.”
There were so many statements and stories shared that resonated with me. One in particular is by Jenny Runkel, who had been diagnosed with lymphoma. Jenny is an avid Yoga practitioner, and it was through this health experience that she gained an appreciation for staying in the moment and appreciating small things, like being able to practice Yoga that day. And not only did she practice Yoga, she was more mindful and aware of how her breath felt, the thoughts she was thinking, how her body felt, and so forth. Having been an avid exerciser, she says that she didn’t feel like she got a good workout unless she was dripping sweat. And the focus of the exercise was always about her battle of the bulge or the war on fat. Since her illness, she states that she now views exercise differently due to her experience, and that she is now more comfortable with her body and how it moves and feels.
There are so many ways we can show gratitude on a daily basis. The simple act of saying “Thank you” to someone as they hold the door open for you, or when a cashier gives you change when you are checking out are simple ways to incorporate gratitude into your life. Keeping a daily Gratitude Journal and writing things for which you are thankful is another great way to shift the focus. Even if you have had what seems like a bad day, there is always something we can be grateful for: a roof over our heads, the sun shinning in the sky, the rain for the grass and plants, or the pet who comes to snuggle with you while you fall asleep.
And the idea of Gratitude is a central part of Reiki practice and for practitioners. Just for Today, release anger and worry, be grateful for blessings, work hard, and be kind to yourself and others. I am grateful that I can practice Reiki on a daily basis on friends, family, and clients.